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Posts tagged Kongobuji 金剛峯寺

169 tatami room

新別殿

#tea #japan #tatami #koyasan #kongobuji

Rooms in Japan are frequently measured by the number of tatami. 4.5-tatami rooms are common and are the norm for tea rooms. 8-tatami rooms are considered large. However, on this day I sat in a 169-tatami room sipping tea by myself.

This room is known as the “New Temple Annex” (新別殿) in Kongobuji. I’m guessing on most days the room has dozens of tourists in it so this photo was a rare opportunity to capture the room vacant.

Besides having one of the largest tea rooms in Japan, Kongobuji also has the largest rock garden.

And if that isn’t enough to get you to Kongobuji the next time you are on Koyasan, you can head over to the Willow Room to see where Toyotomi Hidetsugu, and several of his wakashu (若衆), were ordered to commit suicide.

金剛峯寺

Kongobuji

30 seconds before taking this photo, I took the one above.

Largest rock garden in Japan

Protection via rock dragons

Koyasan’s Kongobuji

6-photo photomerge of Koyasan's Kongobuji between storms

Should you ever find yourself on Koyasan, here is a little secret. Everyone is eating breakfast and dinner (in their shukubo) at about the same time. Set your meal time to be on the edge of those times (first or last). If first, head out immediately after eating to find deserted, instead of crowded, temples and shrines. If last, explore just before eating. You’ll be amazed at how much better a temple site can look and feel when you are the only one there.

Kongobuji dragon

kongobuji roof detail

Kongobuji (金剛峰寺) decorative eaves

Koyasan tip

Kongōbu-ji 金剛峯寺 koyasan

Kongōbu-ji (金剛峯寺) on Koyasan

Japan’s temples and shrines, to me, are far more special alone. New Year’s Day crowds can be interesting too, but visiting a temple or shrine with loads of tourists isn’t usually my thing.

Here is a tip if you are on Koyasan. Some temples, like Kongobuji, close at 5. Dinner at most of the lodgings is at 5:30 or 6. Most people head back to their lodgings before 4 to relax before dinner. You are better off relaxing during the middle of the day when the places are crowded and experiencing the temples between 4 and 5 (or early in the morning) when they are empty.

Such was the case when I walked up through this gate to Kongobuji after 4 p.m. (passing many tourists scurrying back to their temple lodgings). I was the only one there!

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